Hanno (Annone) at Pope Leo X (Giovanni di Lorenzo de Medici)

Male Asian elephant Hanno (Annone) at Pope Leo X (Giovanni di Lorenzo de Medici)

Sketch of Hanno and mahout, after Raphael, c.1514.
† Hanno (Annone)
ID Number:
Species: Asian elephant
Sex and age:Male, unknown years
Dead date: 1516-06-08
Death reason: unknown:
Location:Pope Leo X (Giovanni di Lorenzo de Medici)
ArrivedPope Leo X (Giovanni di Lorenzo de Medici) 1515-03-12
from Emanuel I, King of Portugal (Manuel I de Portugal)
Emanuel I, King of Portugal (Manuel I de Portugal) 1507-00-00
Born: Sri Lanka
Document updated2010-09-21
Hanno (Italian, Annone; c. 1510 8 June 1516) was the pet white elephant of Pope Leo X (born Giovanni de' Medici), and the subject of the book "The Pope's Elephant: An Elephant's Journey from Deep in India to the Heart of Rome" by Silvio A. Bedini. He was the gift of King Manuel I of Portugal on the Pope's coronation. King Manuel had either received him as a gift from the King of Cochin, or had asked Alfonso d'Albuquerque, his viceroy in India, to purchase him. Hanno was said to be white in colour, and arrived by ship from Lisbon to Rome in 1514, aged about four years, and was kept initially in an enclosure in the Belvedere courtyard, then moved to a specially constructed building between St. Peter's Basilica and the Apostolic Palace, near the Borgo Sant'Angelo (a road in the rione of Borgo).

Hanno became a great favourite of the papal court and was featured in processions. Two years after he came to Rome, he fell ill suddenly, was given a purgative, and died on 8 June 1516, with the pope at his side. Hanno was laid to rest in the Cortile del Belvedere at the age of seven.

The Popes Elephant

Silvio A. Bedini

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